Yuletide: NSCDC deploys 1,400 personnel to Kogi

Mr Philip Ayodele, Commandant of the Kogi Command of the NSCDC, made this known to newsmen in Lokoja on Saturday.



By Friday Idachaba
Lokoja, Dec. 22, 2018 (NNN) The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has deployed 1,400 personnel to major highways in Kogi to complement regular officers to provide security and ease vehicular traffic during the yuletide.

Mr Philip Ayodele, Commandant of the Kogi Command of the NSCDC, made this known to newsmen in Lokoja on Saturday.

He mentioned the strategic plans and activities of the command for the yuletide in state.

Ayodele said that the deployed and regular officers of the corps had been placed on red alert to provide adequate security for the citizens and motorists from Kogi and other states.

He said that the command had extended its operations to major highways, through its collaborative effort with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to reduce road accidents due to the busy traffic flow during the period.

Ayodele noted that Kogi State was bordered by 10 states and the FCT and, therefore, required proactive strategy to nip inter-state criminal activities in the bud.

He said that the corps’ “unorthodox operational methods’’ had always caught criminals off guard, saying that the command had mapped out strategies and also submitted its operational drive to the entire sister agencies.

Ayodele said: “Apart from the regular personnel, over 1,400 have been mobilised to the state to provide security and smooth flow of traffic to motorists and to ensure a crime free celebration.

“The location of Kogi state has made it a hotspot in this period of Christmas and New Year celebrations.’’

On the resurgence of kidnapping and armed robbery on Obajana-Oshokoshoko-Kabba road in Western axis of the state, the commandant said a joint operation of all the security agencies had been planned to secure the route.

“We are not limiting it to an agency alone. We have resolved that the menace of kidnapping and armed robbery will be jointly tackled by all security agencies in the state.

“We are on top of the situation,’’ Ayodele said.

On the forthcoming general elections, the commandant said that the NSCDC and other security agencies were ready to provide security and ensure safety of lives and property before, during and after the elections.

He, however, decried the destruction of opponents’ billboards and posters by hoodlums, saying that the NSCDC was training a special team that would handle that particular type of crime.

Ayodele noted that ensuring free, fair and credible elections was the collective responsibility of the entire citizenry.

He urged parents not to allow their children and wards to be used as political thugs by desperate politicians. (NNN)
Edited by Gregory Mmaduakolam/Adeleye Ajayi


Lack of labour-saving technology affecting women farmers’ health –SWOFON



Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), has lamented the health challenges faced by women farmers due to lack of gender-friendly labour saving technologies.

The group, in a communiqué issued at the end of its two-day 2019 National Annual Farmers Forum held in Abuja, said that women farmers were using obsolete technologies that task their strength and health.

The communique was signed by the National Coordinator, Omaboyowa Roberts.

“Smallholder women farmers face deplorable labour activities that often lead to deterioration in their health, while consuming time in a manner that hamper productivity.

“There is the need to enhance development of labour saving and productivity improving technologies; there is also the need for increased access to fabricated labour saving equipment leveraged on technology.

“Smallholder women farmers, who are producers of over 70 per cent of Nigeria’s food, are not involved in the National Agriculture Insurance Scheme and are unable to access the compensation for losses during our farming cycle.

“Therefore, there is need for proper mechanisms and engagements to be put in place to enable us access insurance support.

“It is also of great importance for evaluation and monitoring mechanisms to be developed to monitor the dissemination of claims and claims process.

“Smallholder women farmers have difficulties in accessing credit facilities for improved agriculture business; there is a need to conduct regional engagement activities to sensitise them on the opportunities that exist for improved and increased access to credit.

“Access to land and ownership and control of land is another challenge for smallholder women farmers in Nigeria. Government must develop and implement gender-friendly policies that support them to inherit land.

“In addition, the Land Use Act needs to be reviewed to make the ownership and control of Land by women positive in Nigeria,” it said.

SWOFON also alleged that most government initiatives on agriculture were hijacked by political farmers, and suggested the creation of Smallholder Farmers committees in the legislative assemblies at national and state levels.

“Government needs to support smallholder women farmers with capital investment initiatives and projects to encourage and strengthen the partnerships and collaboration efforts.

“These investments and initiatives should also be aimed at enhancing, promoting and amplifying success stories of women farmers.

“This will help to drive commercial linkages, improve productivity, and increase women’s participation in the agriculture value chain.

“There is also need for increased allocation for small holder women farmers in the agriculture budget across states and at the national level.

“Annual budgets need to be approved and released on time with the effective support of the MDAs and the Appropriation Committees of the legislative assemblies,” it said.

It added that in order to ensure effective access to extension services for small holder women farmers across the country, there was an urgent need to improve investment in the provision of enhanced and effective extension services.

It stressed that such investment would have to target the recruitment, training and deployment of extension services personnel while equipping them with the necessary means to deliver on their mandate.

It also called for deliberate and improved investment in research and development to improve farm yields.

On objectives of the 2019 farmers forum, SWOFON said that it provided an avenue for women farmers to interact with key stakeholders, including donors, on enhanced participation and involvement of women farmers in agricultural policies and programmes.

The national annual farmers forum, often organised by SWOFON, is supported by ActionAid under the ActionAid Public financing for Agriculture Budget (PFA) Project.

The SWOFON 2019 national annual farmers forum had in attendance, representatives from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capita Territory (FCT).

Also in attendance were stakeholders from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Centre for Social Justice, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Agribusiness Network, among others.

Edited & Vetted By: Chioma Ugboma and Ephraims Sheyin

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Cassava production: Scientists meet in Tanzania to review progress



Scientists, experts and scaling partners of the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) are set for their 4th annual review and planning meeting.

This was contained in a statement issued by Mr Godwin Atser, the IITA Digital Extension and Advisory Services Specialist, and made available to the Nigeria News Agency on Sunday in Ibadan.

He said the aim of the meeting was to discuss and unveil the progress made in cassava agronomy and how such efforts had been addressing the low yield per hectare on farmers’ fields in Nigeria and Tanzania.

He remarked that across Africa, yield per hectare of cassava was about nine tons per ha, as opposed to Asia with more than 20 tons per ha.

This, he said, undermined African cassava farmers’ competitiveness in the export market.

The statement quoted the ACAI Project Coordinator, Dr Pieter Pypers, as saying that the meeting was scheduled for Unguja Island in Zanzibar, Tanzania, from Dec. 9 to Dec. 12.

According to him, the meeting will present an opportunity for the entire ACAI team to get-together, celebrate the successes of the project, discuss challenges and plan for the fifth year.

He said that the meeting would also have less of plenary presentations but more of poster sessions, a world café, breakout sessions and information booths, where scientists, knowledge exchange experts and partners would showcase and share ideas.

Pypers added that the meeting would also be about scaling and dissemination first, and how the project had started gaining momentum with Akilimo.

According to him, Akilimo is the mobile agronomy advisory tool developed to serve as the face of ACAI’s decision support system.

“It combines data, predictions models, software infrastructure and interfaces, using pragmatic and user-centered approaches to provide the information in ways that are attractive and useful to partners, extension workers and cassava farmers.

“Aside the ACAI team members, partners leading the dissemination of the ACAI Decision Support Tools through extension work in Nigeria and Tanzania expected at the meeting include Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), Farm Concern International (FCI), UWAMWIMA, Minjingu, Psaltry International, 2Scale and NOTORE.

“The technical partners working to strengthen Akilimo (VIAMO 321 service, eSOKO digital solutions and Arifu chatbot) will also be present at booth sessions,” he said.

Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq


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RIFAN urges FG to sustain border closure



RIFAN urges FG to sustain border closure

The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has urged Federal Government to sustain its current border closure, saying it would help boost the economy.

Alhaji Idris Abini, the chairman of Niger state chapter of the association made the call in Minna during an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Sunday.

Abini said that the closure has increased rice production in the state due to increased demand by marketers and consumers.

“Although we are yet to meet local demand for rice.

“We have started the journey to produce more rice due to the closure of our borders because efforts will be made by both government and farmers to produce enough food.

“The border closure is a right step in the right direction because it is already increasing wealth among farmers as consumers are beginning to patronise our local rice,” he said.

He said that Nigeria has different varieties of rice that can compete favourably with foreign ones.

The RIFAN chairman said that the closure would ensure security in the country as smuggling of illegal arms and ammunition would be curtailed.

“Those criticising the closure of the borders are not a true Nigerians because it is one of the best decisions of this administration,” he said.

Abini expressed optimism that the policy would succeed as government was providing the enabling environment for agriculture to thrive by supporting farmers with inputs and implements.

“The federal government has demonstrated this through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Scheme by allowing farmers to access more loans even when previous ones have not been fully repaid,” he said.

Edited & Vetted By: Ali Baba-Inuwa

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SWOFON commends women farmers’ successes in spite of challenges



SWOFON commends women farmers’ successes in spite of challenges

The Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria(SWOFON) has commended efforts made by women farmers in the country in contributing to food security in spite of the numerous challenges they are facing.

The President of the organisation, Mrs Mary Afan, made the commendation at the end of the group’s Annual Farmers’ Forum in Abuja.

Afan said in spite of their challenges that ranged from poor access to credit, inputs and other facilities, women farmers had proved that they were a strong pillar.

She said, “this is a forum where every year we come together to share experience, engage with government officials to see how we can have a space as small holder women farmers to be able to access whatever the government has for small holder farmers,” she said.

The president noted that some of the high points of the forum was discussion around having access to finance, inputs and other issues affecting women farmers.

She said the organisation was not resting on its oars in ensuring that small holder women farmers had their needs met.

“Some of our women have testified that they have been able to access processing machines through our organisation and the SMEDAN programme that is going on in the states because of the organised structure we have,” she said.

Afan called on government and other stakeholders to assist women farmers where necessary, to enable them to contribute their quota to the development of the nation.

She said: “we still want the government to involve small holder women farmers in the budget process because we want them to capture the issues that affect us.

” I also want a specific amount of that budget to be targeted at small holder women farmers,” she said.

She further said, “we have also been advocating that Nigeria is a signatory to the Malabu declaration which says each African government should commit 10 per cent of the total budget to the Agriculturalists Sector.

“If there is an increase in the agricultural sector, we will be able to feed the nation because we will be able to expand production and it is something that will actually help us.

On the border closure, she said, “some of our women said the border closure is a benefit to us because you can see rice has now become hot cake.

” We are able to sell even at an increased price and even though Nigeria is a signatory to the African Free Continental Trade Agreement, the border closure is giving us a strength to see how we can stand.

“We can actually feed ourselves, we can actually produce what other people need. We just understand that Ghana said they are the major exporter of Shea butter and this Shea butter they are exporting is from Nigeria.

” When the border was closed, they had nothing to export. So, it means that Ghana depends on Nigeria to get her Shea butter for the export.

“This is opening our eyes that we need actually to plan very well to have a large economy of scale of whatever we can produce,” she said.

Mr Jaye Gaskiya, the Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of SWOFON, said the forum, an annual gathering of the organisation, was meant to help the farmers to strategise on how to improve on the successes recorded so far.

He said, “one of the key takeaways from here is, as someone, who saw they organisation when it started some years ago, I feel fulfilled and proud.

” The second takeaway is that, building on their successes, we are seeing a situation where the stakeholders are seeing that rather than reinventing the wheel, they will invest in establishing cooperatives and the rest of that. They now know that they have existing cooperatives that they can go to.

“One of the things that SWOFON has been doing in the last one year is the registration of women farmers across the country and they are tracking this in every state of the federation.

” So at the end of this exercise we will be able to have accurate data in terms of the number of active women farmers in the federation.

He called on men across all sectors, particularly in the Agricultural Sector to support women if the economy must move forward.

He said,” My background is participatory governance and democratic development. There is no way you can have participatory governance if it does not include all the gender and particularly those in society that are marginalised.

“We all know that our society is patriarchal. Women are culturally marginalised and structurally marginalised.

“My advice is very simple, people ought to understand very clearly that, the way we are created, we stand on two legs.

If we attempt to walk on one leg and one hand, we are not going to be able to do anything, and there is a reason why there are two genders and two sexes.

” It means that society cannot move forward without the collaboration of the two. So it is a question of creating the mechanisms for equity to happen in such a way that everybody can contribute his quota and everybody can be enabled to realise their full potentials.

“So, you are not doing yourself a disservice, you are not undermining yourself by promoting the empowerment of people who are marginalised. In fact you are actually building yourself when you do that.

The National Coordinator of SWOFON, Omaboyowa Roberts, said the importance of the forum was to create a platform for accountability, transparency and strength.

She said the organisation had recorded a lot of projects in 2019 including advocacy, policy engagement with the African Union, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Nigeria, state governments and other stakeholders.

Roberts added that the forum created platform to strengthen some of the gaps observed over the years like improved financing and building of partnerships and linkages.

” We believe that with the cross border agreement and with the opportunities coming through the Agriculture Promotion Policy, there is a need and emphasis to strengthen collaboration across sectors.

“We are going to be planning our annual 2020 plan to see the successes we can leverage on and the platforms and opportunities to leverage on as an organisation,” she said.

Edited & Vetted By: Abdullahi Yusuf

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RIFAN recovers N35m CBN ABP loan in Niger



RIFAN recovers N35m CBN ABP loan in Niger

The Niger State chapter of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) on Saturday said that it had recovered N35 million Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) loan from its members in the state.

Alhaji Idris Abini, RIFAN’s state chairman made the dislosure in an interview with Nigeria News Agency in Minna.

Abini said that the farmers had applied for the facility between 2017 and 2018 and defaulted in repayment as agreed with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“Right now we have recovered up to N35 million from our members who collected loans under the ABP and refused to honour the agreement they signed,” he said.

He said that the national headquarters of RIFAN has engaged a consultant to look into the financial status of the state RIFAN in order to find out the total loan owed by rice farmers between 2017 and 2018.

The RIFAN Chairman explained that the non repayment of loans by RIFAN members across the country made the CBN to constitute a loan recovery committee at the national level.

According to him, the committee comprises representatives of the CBN, RIFAN, Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation, Unity Bank and Bank of Agriculture.

Abini said that at the state levels similar committees were also constituted.

He said that the state committees reports to their respective chairmen who in turn deal with the CBN committee.

The RIFAN Chairman said that the state chapter of RIFAN had embarked on a two-week sensitisation before the loan recovery exercise.

He said that before now the farmers repaid the loans in rice paddy equivalent to the loan facility they received.

Abini said that the unwilling attitude of the farmers has necessitated the committee to collect cash and record it against the farmers name instead of government losing the loans.

The RIFAN Chairman charged the farmers to repay the loans to enable others benefit from such facility.

NAN recalls that Abini had said in an interview on October 6th that out of the 24,000 members who applied for the ABP loans for the 2019 farming season, CBN approved 12,000 applications that met the requirements.

Edited & Vetted By: Buhari Bolaji/Ismail Abdulaziz

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Group seeks participation of more women in farming



Group seeks participation of more women in farming

A group, Women for Positive Change on Saturday urged agriculture stakeholders to promote programmes and policies that would attract more women to embrace farming as a business and vocation.

Mrs Bilikis Adedoyin, the group’s President, made the appeal during an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Omu-Aran, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara.

Adedoyin said there was the need to change the peoples’ impression and wrong mindset that farming remained the exclusive preserve of the menfolk.

According to her, farming has become the credible alternative and the mainstay, irrespective of the tribe, culture, ethnic, religion or geographical background.

Adedoyin said there were many branches of farming, such as cropping, poultry, fishery, piggery, vegetable cultivation, which women could venture into and make the desired great impact.

She said that more women in agriculture would in no small measure assist to complement government’s efforts toward diversifying the nation’s economy.

“More women embracing farming will translate to high production, harvest and income.

“The government’s efforts toward tackling the challenges of food insufficiency across the country will also receive the desired boost.

“So whatever the circumstances, it will be very beneficial and a boost for our socio-economic development to attract more women to farming as a profession and vocation,” she said.

Adedoyin also urged government to beam its search light on the bureaucratic bottlenecks in accessing various government farming incentives, especially credit facilities.

“Farming is no doubt a capital intensive project, more importantly in achieving the desired high production level, harvest and income.

“From getting qualitative seeds to plant, to cultivation, insecticide application, irrigation during dry season, weeding, harvesting, post-harvest storage and transportation of products.

“The capital requirements is almost the same thing for most of the farm branches.

“So to be a successful farmer, you need to have access to those incentives from government which must be adequate, timely and devoid of these bureaucratic bottlenecks.

“This will go a long way to make farming very lucrative and a worthwhile venture most importantly for our womenfolk,” she said.

Adedoyin noted that the group recently embarked on advocacy visits and sensitisation to schools, markets and religious places, to encourage more women to embrace farming as a business and vocation.

She charged the management of agriculture-based universities in the country to institute and promote policies and programmes that would encourage and attract more female students to embrace agriculture courses.

“People still believe agriculture practices is for men alone which accounts for the low number of female students in most of the universities’ agriculture departments.

“Universities’ managements can bring up policies in form of incentives such as scholarship or tuition waivers for agriculture-related courses.

“Such development will, to a greater extent, make the female students to be more attracted to agriculture-related courses.

“It is not out place if we have a woman holding sway in agriculture-based appointment nationally or internationally or even as a minister of agriculture in particular, ’’ Adedoyin said.

Edited & Vetted By: Oluyinka Fadare/Adeleye Ajayi

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Jigawa, Chinese Hunan province sign agreement on agriculture



Jigawa, Chinese Hunan province sign agreement on agriculture

The Jigawa State Government said it has signed an agreement with Hunan Provincial Government in the Peoples Republic of China on agricultural technology transfer.

Gov. Muhammad Badaru stated this during the launch of the state’s 2019 Mega Agricultural Economic Empowerment Programme in Dutse on Friday.

Badaru said the Hunan government has already provided hybrid rice seed to the state which yields 14.6 tonnes per hectare in the Hunan province.

He explained that the state government has started pilot trials of the variety in a pilot scheme field in Yamidi village in Auyo local government area.

The governor added that the agreement provides for transfer in agricultural machinery, irrigation technology and land conservation.

According to him, the state is committed to buy into the federal government’s commitment to carrying everyone along in its bid to revamp the economy.

“You will notice that almost all our programmes are derived from agricultural sector, because, for us, it is the real economy, engaging over 80 per cent of our productive populace.

“I’m also privileged to let you know that we’ve just signed an agreement with the Hunan Provincial Government in the Peoples Republic of China on technology transfer.

“They’ve provided us with hybrid rice seed with which yields up to 14.6 tons in the Hunan province and we’ve already started pilot trials on this variety in our pilot scheme field in Yamidi at Auyo LGA.

“The agreement also provides for technology transfer in agricultural machinery, irrigation technology and land conservation,” Badaru said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that mini rice millers, multipurpose crop thrasher, single and double row multipurpose planters, hand held rice/wheat harvesters, manual sprayers, power tillers, rice/wheat thrashers were among the items distributed to farmers.

NAN also reports that among the dignitaries at the occasion were; Gov. of Kebbi state, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emeifele, who was represented by his Special Assistant on Development Finance, Mr Anthony Ifechukwu.

Edited & Vetted By: Saidu Adamu/Ismail Abdulaziz

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40 youths receive N7.5m grant from IITA, AfricaRice project



No fewer than 40 youths from Oyo and Ekiti states on Friday received farming equipment and cash worth N7.5 million from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and AfricaRice.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the beneficiaries are participants who completed the two-week training under the Youth Employment in Agri-business and Sustainable agriculture (YEASA) project sponsored by International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD).

The YEASA Project Coordinator at IITA, Miss Yemi Adunoye, said this during the Grant Award ceremony held at IITA, Ibadan, that the youths were trained on cultivation of different commodities such as cassava, maize, soybean and cowpea.

According to her, the training entailed production, value addition as well as soft skills such as marketing, emotional intelligence and customer relations.

She said that the aim was to reduce unemployment rate by providing the youths with entrepreneurship and technical agricultural skills to enable them establish profitable agri-business enterprises.

“The event is to award them a starter pack, including multipurpose weeder, knives, grinding machines, sealing machine, gas burner and gas cylinder,” she said.

Also speaking, the AfricaRice Regional Representative and Coordinator, Dr Francise Nwilene, said the border closure would serve as a good market platform for youths to thrive in agriculture and food production, thereby creating more jobs.

He noted that AfricaRice was interested in empowering youths through agriculture.

“It’s not enough to train people without empowering them.

“We want to see millionaires among youths, we can’t continue to import rice while we have vibrant youths who can produce that in the country,” Nwilene said.

The YEASA Project Manager, Prof. Amos Onasanya, advised the trainees to use the equipment and cash wisely in their local areas.

He urged them to be self disciplined so as to succeed in life as well as work as a team to make more profit.

“We will certainly be checking your business and anyone that’s doing well will have more reward and additional training,” he said.

(Edited & Vetted By: Bayo Sekoni/Mufutau Ojo)

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Erosion prevention: Stakeholders seek national soil policy



Soil experts have urged the Federal Government to prioritise national soil policy to curb spate of soil erosion in the country.

The experts made the call on Friday in Abuja at the “Experts dialogue” organised by the Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (NISS) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Soil Science Society of Nigeria (SSSN).

The dialogue was part of activities to commemorate the World Soil Day (WFD).

Nigeria News Agency report that the WSD is commemorated annually on Dec. 5 and the theme for 2019 is “Stop soil erosion, save our future”.

Dr Effiom Oku, Lecturer, Department of Soil Science, UniAbuja, said while presenting a paper that unless there was a policy, addressing the issue of soil erosion would be in futility

The paper was tagged: “Water erosion vulnerability map of Nigeria: Future outlook, present, past and policy recommendations’’.

The paper was jointly prepared by Prof. Victor Chude, the Registrar, NISS, Oku and Sunday Ishaya, of Department of Soil Science, UniAbuja, as well as Adamu James from the Nigeria Meteorological Agency.

Oku emphasised that there was need for urgent soil policy to articulate what needed to be done and what needed not be done with regard to curbing soil erosion.

According to him, the policy will empower the scientist to swing into action as well as law enforcement agencies to arrest and ensure penalties for people carrying out activities that can trigger the burden of erosion in the country.

He emphasised that there was urgent need to stop soil erosion being the greatest environmental challenge facing mankind and undermining development.

“There is urgent need to stop soil erosion because soil is directly linked to SDGs two, three, 13, 15 and a midwife to deliver many SDGs.

“It can take up to 100 years to produce two to three centimeters of soil and less than one minute for several centimeters of soil to be lost through erosion according to FAO.

“Soil erosion is the greatest threat to food security in Nigeria,” he noted.

He explained that erosion vulnerability and rainfall aggressiveness map provides a veritable policy tool as a guide for legislation and planning for disaster protection and reduction.

Oku noted that the objective of the presentation was to quantify the risks and show precisely water erosion hotspots in Nigeria and, as well, provide tool for decision makers to plan for prevention, mitigation and operations.

On the present water erosion in the country he noted that lowest erosivity was observed in Nguru in Yobe, Katsina town and Gusau in Zamfara State.

The further identified Calabar, Eket in Akwa Ibom as having the highest erosivity.

“Of the 36 States and FCT, low erosivity observed is in 17 per cent of the states, moderate in 43 per cent, moderately strong in 13 per cent and very strong in nine per cent,” he noted.

Edited & Vetted By: Donald Ugwu

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